Dagong Credit Rating to Belarus
April 26, 2012, the Chinese rating agency Dagong Cregit Rating Co., Ltd. assigned to Belarus sovereign credit ratings \"BB +\" - for liabilities in the national currency and \"BB-\" - for liabilities in the foreign currency. The outlook is \"stable.\"
The decision was taken following the work of Dagong analysts in Belarus in February 2012. An agreement with the rating agency on assigning the sovereign credit rating to Belarus was signed in November 2011.
Assigning the sovereign credit rating, according to Dagong Credit Rating agency, will open up the financial markets of South-Eastern Asia to Belarus. The government is likely to place bonds on the stock exchanges and the OTC market among residents of China, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc.
Moreover, the expansion of trade and investment and credit co-operation with Asian companies is expected, since, according to the Dagong evaluation, the sovereign credit ratings of Belarus is several notches higher than the credit ratings from agencies Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s.
At present, Dagong Credit Rating is one of the major Chinese rating agencies that rates bonds of 10 thousand companies worth about $ 1 trillion and bank loans worth more than $ 110 billion.
For reference. According to the National Statistical Committee, the volume of foreign trade between Belarus and China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan) decreased in January-February 2012 by 10%, compared to the previous year, to 358.322 million dollars. The exports of Belarusian goods fell by 24.8% to $ 56.583 million and the imports of Chinese goods declined by 6.5% to $ 301.739 million.
Direct Chinese investments into the Belarusian economy in 2011 reduced by 1.8 times, to $ 9,862 million.
As of January 1, 2012, China accounts for 8.3% of Belarus’ total external debt (in monetary terms, the external debt to China is about $ 2.824 billion). The major borrowers are the Belarusian government and the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus.
The rapid increase in wages has led to a decline in the ratio between labour productivity and real wages to one. Previously, the rule was that enterprises, in which the state owned more than 50% of shares in the founding capital, were not allowed increasing salaries if this ratio was equal to or less than one. The authorities are unlikely to be able to meet the wage growth requirement without long-term consequences for the economy. Hence, the government is likely to contain wage growth for the sake of economic growth.
According to Belstat, In January – August 2017, GDP growth was 1.6%. The economic revival has led to an increase in wages. In August, the average monthly wage was BYN 844.4 or USD 435, i.e. grew by 6.6% since early 2017, adjusted for inflation. This has reduced the ratio between labour productivity and real wages from 1.03 in January 2017 to 1 in the first seven months of 2017. This parameter should not be less than 1, otherwise, the economy starts accumulating imbalances.
The need for faster growth in labour productivity over wage growth was stated in Decree No 744 of July 31st, 2014. The decree enabled wages growth at state organizations and organizations with more than 50% of state-owned shares only if the ratio between growth in labour productivity and wages was higher than 1. Taking into account the state's share in the economy, this rule has had impact on most of the country's key enterprises. In 2013 -2014 wages grew rapidly, which resulted in devaluation in 2014-2015.
Faster wage growth as compared with growth in labour productivity carries a number of risks. Enterprises increase cost of wages, which subsequently leads to a decrease in the competitiveness of products on the domestic and foreign markets. In construction, wholesale, retail trade, and some other industries the growth rate of prime cost in 2017 outpaces the dynamics of revenue growth. This is likely to lead to a decrease in profits and a decrease in investments for further development. Amid wage growth, the population is likely to increase import consumption and reduce currency sales, which would reduce the National Bank's ability to repay foreign and domestic liabilities.
The Belarusian government is facing a dilemma – either to comply with the president’s requirement of a BYN 1000 monthly wage, which could lead to new economic imbalances and could further affect the national currency value, or to suspend the wage growth in order to retain the achieved economic results. That said, the first option bears a greater number of negative consequences for the nomenclature.
Overall, the rapid growth in wages no longer corresponds the pace of economic development. The government is likely to retain the economic growth and retrain further growth in wages. Staff reshuffles are unlikely to follow the failure to meet the wage growth requirement.